How to Make a Metal Branding Stamp

By James McElroy
A wire coat hanger makes a good branding stamp.

Farmers mark their cattle with branding stamps, chefs personalize cuts of meat with them and woodworkers stamp furniture with them. Make your own branding stamp and start putting your mark on your own projects. Once heated over a fire or bed of coals, press the stamp into steaks or a piece of wood to give it your personal touch.

Draw the design that you want to use for your branding iron on a blank sheet of paper with a permanent marker. Remember to draw the design with a single line because you will make the brand from a single piece of wire.

Unravel an unpainted wire coat hanger where it's twisted together at the top. Cut off the parts of the wire that were twisted together so that you're left with the section that forms the triangle of the hanger. Straighten the hanger out.

Turn over the sheet of paper with your design. A mirror image of the design will have bled through the paper. Trace the reverse image to make it stand out better.

Use needle-nosed pliers to bend one end of the wire to match the reverse image on the sheet of paper. Check the accuracy of your bends by placing the wire against the sheet of paper to check your progress and make small adjustments until the wire matches the mirror image of your design. When you brand something, the iron will sear the original design into it, just like a stamp bears the mirror image of the design that it stamps.

Tip

Keep a bucket of water nearby when you brand to cool off the stamp or branded items quickly.

Warning

Once it is heated, only hold the branding stamp with oven mitts or a pair of pliers.

About the Author

James McElroy began his journalism career in 2001 and his stories have appeared in newspapers around the world, including "The Columbus Dispatch" and "The Star-Ledger." He studied journalism at the E.W. Scripps Graduate School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.